Sword of Kings: Forged Out of Necessity
by Bill W
Copyright © 2014 by billwstories
Copyright © 2014 by billwstories
The Adventure Begins
The contingent left Aurelia as the first rays of sunlight filtered through the dew-laden boughs of the faerie kingdom. King Dylan led the procession and directed the group through the Woods of Wildoness, as he guided them toward the grasslands that bordered the western edge of the forest. Dylan was absorbed in a very serious conversation with the elf riding next to him, the general in charge of his army. They were busy discussing what precautions should be taken to safeguard Kieren and the others on this journey.
The sight of these two elves riding next to each other offered an extreme contrast and seemed almost comical in appearance. First, there was the kingly countenance of Dylan, mounted on his regal white stallion, compared to the battle scarred general, who sat astride his sturdy beast. General Daveel's horse was not nearly as handsome as the king's, but it was far more suited for the rigors of battle.
The general was also quite large for an elf, not merely in height, but also in his broad muscular build. He was a mighty warrior, much proven in battle, and an excellent strategist, possibly the best in all of Tarolia. He had long been the trusted military advisor to the king and once more Dylan sought his advice.
Following Dylan and Daveel was Beraut, riding on a large chestnut mare. His mount was quite a bit bigger than any of the others in the company, but his horse's size was necessary to accommodate Beraut's larger frame. The wizard looked weary and troubled as he rode along and his mind was consumed with some deep, dark mystery he would not divulge to any of the others. His timeworn face reflected his emotions, which meant no one could mistake the depth of his troubles or the enormity of his concerns. He was facing questions only he could answer and attempting to solve problems he could not share with anyone else, regardless of how much he might have wished to.
Pulling up the rear of the group rode the remainder of the guard, a dozen of the elf's most experienced and tenacious warriors. The party was small enough so it wouldn't attract a great deal of attention, yet large enough to defend itself if attacked along the way.
Between these two groups in this formation journeyed the three youthful companions, who were talking excitedly about their first major trip away from their homes.
"I still can't believe this is happening!" Romaric exclaimed. "Would you have ever imagined, even in your wildest dreams, that one day we'd be joining the king on a trip to Leander?"
The other pair shook their heads, indicating they had not, but Kieren noticed a concerned look on Garreth's face. Kieren was about to ask him what was wrong when the elf saved him the trouble.
"Do you think Madumda might have spies lurking in the woods?" he asked, as he scanned the area around them.
"I don't know. I guess it's possible, although I doubt it," Kieren answered.
"Maybe he's sent assassins to try to kill King Dylan, Beraut and the rest of us," Garreth offered.
"I guess that's possible too, but I think it's even less likely than your first suggestion," Kieren agreed, half-heartedly. "Do you really think an assassin would stand a chance against a wizard such as Beraut?"
"No, I don't suppose he would," Garreth conceded reluctantly, "but Madumda still might have others hiding in various places to see what we're up to?"
"Why would he care what we were doing?" Kieren asked, slightly baffled.
"Not us, like in Romaric, you and me, but us as in Beraut and the king. Wouldn't Madumda want Beraut followed, to see what he was up to? And wouldn't Madumda want to know if King Dylan was going to have the elves help Beraut?"
"I suppose he might, but Beraut seems to be very careful and he's obviously quite powerful," Kieren answered, while trying to put an end to Garreth's concerns. "I think he would have known or at least suspected if someone was watching him during this entire time."
"Maybe, but I think we should still ask him, just to be certain," Garreth stated, as he looked at the other two for support. He was hoping they would nod in agreement.
"I think we should just keep our eyes open for now," Kieren suggested, "but we can tell Beraut about your concerns when we stop, if that will make you feel better. I just don't think we should interrupt his conversation, since he's speaking with King Dylan and General Daveel."
The other pair automatically looked up to confirm Kieren's observation. Beraut had indeed moved up and was now chatting with the other pair, so Garreth and Romaric each gave a nod, to let Kieren know they agreed with his plan.
The boys rode on, but now their heads were swiveling on their shoulders, while their eyes darted back and forth along their route. Even though Kieren wasn't quite as concerned about this as his friends, he still scanned the area for signs of danger. Almost from the first moment, Garreth and Romaric began to see movement behind nearly every tree and eyes peering at them from various locations. This, in turn, caused them to question if waiting to tell Beraut was the right thing to do.
They had been riding for quite some time and the two elves were just about to suggest to Kieren that they thought it was time to approach the wizard, when General Daveel signaled the party to halt. The boys were grateful he did so, even if it was just to partake of some midday refreshments, because now they could use this opportunity to speak with Beraut. Getting off of their mounts, the elves raced to the wizard's side, with Kieren following closely behind, as they frantically began to explain their worries.
Beraut listened patiently and noted their concerns, because he realized these perceived threats were very real to the boys. For this reason, he decided it would be best not to make fun of their naivete and vivid imaginations, but instead he would attempt to dispel their fears. He felt it would be more productive and put the young elves more at ease if he gave them assurances they could understand.
"King Dylan and his warriors utilize many protective devices to keep the elfin homeland safe, but he also took some additional precautions before our journey began," the wizard explained. "Since before I arrived in Wildoness, King Dylan has been sending out scouts to check our route and the surrounding areas for such breeches in security. I am very confident this leg of our trip is extremely safe, so I think you can calm down and grab something to eat."
Feeling a mild sense of relief, the boys did as the wizard advised and walked over to get some food from one of the elfin soldiers. They waited patiently for him to pass out the various items to those in front of them, until they finally collected their share. The young elves were still questioning whether the area was absolutely safe, but eventually conceded the wizard had much more wisdom and experience than they did. However, they also realized even the brightest people can make mistakes and wondered if this might be one of those times.
Temporarily putting their concerns aside, the boys began to consume their meal. It consisted of a special little treat the head cook in the royal kitchen had prepared for them before they set out. It was a splendid traveling fare consisting of some very tasty sandwiches, unlike anything the three teens had ever eaten before. The sandwiches were small, yet extremely filling, and eating them seemed to drain the weariness from their bodies.
In addition to the sandwiches, a flask of a cool, clear liquid was also passed around, to ease their thirst. As Kieren took his first swallow of this beverage, a warm relaxing sensation swept throughout his torso and he found himself in the most tranquil state he had ever known. He was continuing to enjoy this wonderful feeling when word came that it was time to continue the journey.
The refreshed travelers quickly remounted their steeds and fell into formation again, ready to proceed. They hadn't ridden very far before Kieren and his friends decided to urge their mounts ahead, so they could speak with the wizard once again. This time, however, Kieren and the others were hoping to learn even more about Madumda, so Kieren quickly let the wizard know his intentions.
"Beraut, would you please tell us more about Madumda?" he asked directly.
Realizing this was the best way to keep Kieren and his friends from getting overly paranoid about suspected dangers, Beraut agreed to his request.
"Of course. What is it you would like to know?" the wizard responded.
"Why didn't any of the other wizards notice the changes taking place in Madumda?" Kieren wondered. "From what you've told us, he changed almost completely since he first joined the Council."
"The reason was," Beraut explained, "this transformation occurred so slowly and over such a long period of time that the other wizards were unable to recognize what was happening. Thialfi had confronted Madumda on several occasions about his failure to perform the duties assigned to him, but Thialfi merely thought Madumda was lazy. Thialfi believed the current change in Madumda's attitude was the direct result of being confronted and warned about these matters."
"But didn't anyone see him reading that stuff?" Garreth asked.
"Apparently not," the wizard informed him, "or if they did, they just didn't realize what he was up to. Remember, the tomes containing this information didn't look any different than the other material and was merely housed in a separate area of the library. If any of the others noticed what Madumda was doing, it obviously looked no different than what any of the rest of us was up to at the time. It seemed as if he were merely brushing up on his skills."
"But someone MUST have noticed something!" Romaric exclaimed.
"Whatever was seen or suspected was apparently not significant enough to raise alarm about his activities," the wizard admitted, with a touch of regret in his voice.
"I guess it's easier for us to look back at what happened and then conclude the members of the Council should have noticed this or that," Kieren acknowledged, while still deep in thought. "It's sort of like when we see someone who hasn't seen us in a while and that person comments about how much we've grown and changed. We don't always realize there's such a difference, because we see each other all the time. To us, the changes are so slight from day-to-day that they're hard to recognize. To the others, however, they see the total change, which has happened over a longer period of time and is therefore much greater. That means it's also more noticeable to them."
"Precisely," Beraut agreed, while smiling at Kieren's astute observation. "The closer you are to something, the harder it is to get the complete picture. That's what the old elfin expression 'you can't see the forest because of the trees' means. It just indicates that when you are too close to something, such as a tree, it often blocks your appreciation of the bigger picture, which in this case would be that the tree is part of a vast forest. However, if you stand farther away, or look at something over a longer time span, such as when you move from tree to tree, then you get a different perspective. In this example, it means you would then realize you are not merely looking at a single tree or that it isn't merely part of a small, isolated grove, but was indeed part of a forest."
The boys mulled this comment over for a few minutes, until they were able to comprehend the wizard's point. Now, they finally understood why no one noticed what Madumda had been up to.
This helped pass the time until the elfin leaders signaled their decision to halt the group for the evening, after locating a suitable campsite. Some of the soldiers went off to gather wood to build a fire, which they would then use to prepare the evening's meal. While they were doing this, the remaining warriors set about scouring the surrounding woodland in search of game. It was their intention that whatever they were able to bring back would become part of their upcoming fare.
Within a couple of hours an assortment of rabbit, quail and deer had been cleaned, prepared and browned over the open fire. Ravenously, the meal was consumed and washed down with several containers of wine, which had also been carried among the packs. Now, everyone searched for a flat, smooth surface on which to throw his bedroll and rest for the night.
Kieren, Garreth and Romaric positioned themselves near the campfire yet off to one side, as they attempted to obscure themselves from most of the other travelers. They wanted to be fairly close to the fire, but not because they needed the warmth. The temperature of the night air was very comfortable, but the boys were seeking the security the firelight offered. It would provide enough illumination for them to be able to identify any threats and prevent their imaginations from running wild. At the same time, their being located next to each other would afford them the comfort of numbers, as well as the possibility of some additional relief.
Quickly, the boys discussed amongst themselves whether they dared do the things they would normally engage in when they were together. They hurriedly began to look around to see how safe it would be. They started by checking out the locations and focus of the others in their party first and concluded no one was paying any attention to them. Most were asleep and the guards were focused on the areas surrounding their camp and were not as concerned with those bedded down. This led the boys to conclude they could do as they wished, as long as they kept the noise down and were discreet. That was all they needed to know.
The trio then stripped down completely, as they prepared for sleep and slipped under their blankets. Before long, Garreth's hand was under Kieren's protective covering, while Kieren's hand was searching under Romaric's blanket for his prize. Garreth was successful first, so he began to run his hand over and around Kieren's boyhood, as he gently massaged Kieren's scrotum and fingering the sensitive nuggets hidden within. Garreth liked the feel of Kieren's hairless sac and fondled his family jewels for a couple of minutes first, before moving on to his next target.
Kieren loved the feel of Garreth's smooth hand as it played with his testicles, but he also enjoyed the tingling sensations the manipulation provided. It caused warm feelings to radiate throughout his body and was sufficient to arouse his penis, so that it was standing very erect and waiting for its turn for some action. Kieren didn't have to wait very long, however, as Garreth's hand wormed its way up the shaft and his fingers started to squeeze and play with Kieren's foreskin. Eagerly, he slid the extra flesh back and forth, while occasionally slipping a finger through the opening so he could also tease the sensitive head.
After getting Kieren very excited, Garreth finally wrapped his entire hand around Kieren's granite pole. Slowly at first, Garreth's fist began to move his fist up and down the slender tube and he could feel Kieren start to swoon, before he heard him release a barely audible groan of pleasure. Garreth loved that he could make his friend feel so good and this only encouraged him to try even harder to bring Kieren pleasure. He increased the pace of his stroking slightly, which made Kieren's body writhe in pleasure. Kieren's hips were starting to bounce up and down, a reflexive instinct supplied by nature in order to provide him with the relief his body sought.
During this same period, Kieren had also been performing a similar ritual on Romaric. Although Romaric's penis was not quite as long as Kieren's, it was a bit thicker and Kieren loved the different feel in his hand. Kieren began by repeating the same process Garreth was using on him and rolled Romaric's delicate eggs around in his hand. As he did this, it stimulated the nerve endings that lay just beneath the surface and sent a tingling sensation throughout Romaric's torso. Activating those tiny synapses sent sparks flying around Romaric's body and caused him to see flashes of bright light and brilliant colors. Romaric was enjoying the feeling, although he knew the best was yet to come.
Eventually, Kieren ceased to handle Romaric's gonads and his hand slid upward, until it rested against the tip of Romaric's engorged penis. Kieren pinched and squeezed the excess skin that still overhung the tip, before sliding it back and forth, as he exposed the shiny glans before covering it once again. Romaric was enjoying this attention immensely and his body was squirming slightly, from side to side.
Kieren now wrapped his palm and fingers around the miniature stump and began to jerk it slowly up and down. This wasn't the first time Kieren had held and stroked Romaric's shaft, but he always enjoyed doing this with his friend and knew Romaric liked it as well. This was a mutually beneficial experience and one they repeated whenever they could. As Kieren quickened his pace on his friend, he felt his own orgasm building from Garreth's ministrations, but he wanted to hold off his ejaculation long enough so Romaric would climax at about the same time he did.
Unfortunately, Romaric was moaning louder than was deemed safe, which made Kieren pray the others wouldn't hear their mutual groans of pleasure. Kieren pulled the blanket back quickly, when he realized Romaric was getting close. Romaric's penis swelled a little more just before it released his load, which was prior to Kieren's own eruption. Romaric let loose spurt after spurt of the pearly-colored liquid, as it shot out of his penis and coated his developing chest. This continued until there was nothing left to escape the small, gasping mouth of his helmet, so Kieren released the phallus, as he concentrated on what was being done to him.
Kieren now felt his own bubbling juices begin their ascent up his erection, so he told Garreth to pull his blanket down, so it didn't get soiled. Garreth had barely been able to accomplish that when Kieren's body tensed, his back arched toward the heavens and the white, creamy liquid spurted from the tip. After several blasts, a layer of his warm boy custard covered his chest and then his body began to relax. Garreth continued to milk the remaining droplets from his penis, and once the final beads of liquid had oozed out, he stopped. Then, Garreth bent forward and licked the semen up, so he could swallow the evidence as he cleaned up the mess.
Now that Kieren and Romaric had both deposited their loads, they lay side by side and enjoyed the warm glow of their post-orgasmic bliss. Once Garreth finished cleaning Kieren off, Kieren did the same thing to clean off Romaric's body. After he'd done that, Romaric knew it was his turn to take care of Garreth, so he slowly got up and moved to the other side of his friend. As soon as he lay down again, he took a quick glance around first, to make certain no one was watching them. Once he was convinced his actions had been unobserved, he slid his eager hand under Garreth's blanket.
Garreth was already smiling in anticipation of what was to come, as he felt Romaric's hand slide down his abdomen and past his groin, until it stopped at his thigh. He then felt Romaric's fingers slide around the delicate surface of his scrotum, as they began to manipulate the miniature marbles inside. It was a wonderful sensation, and the warm, tingly feelings began to radiate around Garreth's body. This caused him to start breathing harder, as his heart raced and his mind floated among the clouds. It was as if he were now disembodied, as those wonderful feelings blotted out all of the sights and sounds around him. He could only hear his own breathing and the sound of the blood pulsing through the vessels in his ears. He also couldn't see anything, because his brain was blocking out all interfering impulses.
When Romaric finished his manipulation of Garreth's testicles, he let his palm glide upward, as he slowly stroked the length of Garreth's rigid tool. When his hand reached the top of the shaft, Romaric pulled the hood back and forth, so he could gently stroke the sensitive crown when it was exposed. Garreth was cooing now, as the shockwaves continued to radiate from his waist. It was absolutely wonderful, as Romaric's slender fingers wrapped around Garreth's pride and joy and began its gentle stroking.
Garreth's head was now flopping from side to side, as the rest of his torso writhed from the ultimate stimulation. He could sense those familiar feelings starting down at his toes and working their way up his legs, so he quickly pushed his blanket down, in preparation for what was about to happen. By the time those feelings reached his midsection, his body tensed, his hips lunged skyward and the thick, alabaster cream oozed out and pooled on his abdomen. When the last of his juices had been drained from his now wilting penis, Romaric bent forward and slurped up his reward from his friend's belly. Once he had finished, Romaric quickly slipped back to the other side of Kieren and then the three of them stretched out, ready to get some much needed rest.
Garreth and Romaric dozed off fairly quickly, but Kieren continued to lie awake for some time. He was having trouble falling asleep, so he spent his time listening to the sounds of the forest, such as the occasional screech of an owl or the shrill, blood-curdling howl of a wolf. From his time camping out at their fort, Kieren knew these creatures inhabited the woods, but he also realized they would not venture near the fire or move close to such a large gathering of people. He also realized guards had been posted around the perimeter of the camp and were being changed every hour, to ensure they would be alert. Eventually, Kieren gave in to his weariness and fell into an uneasy slumber.
Kieren awoke some time during the night, when his bladder alerted him it was full and needed to be emptied. He was still groggy, as he got up and stumbled to a secluded area he had used earlier for this purpose. His intention was to do this quickly, so he could get back to sleep.
A minute or so later, after he had finished his business, he began to turn around and was ready to return to the comfort of his bedding. Just as he was starting to do so, he saw movement off to his right, which concerned him. Even though he was still sleepy and the cobwebs had not completely cleared from his brain, he knew it would not be wise to wait around long enough to discover what had caused the movement. Fearing the worse, Kieren was prepared to bolt back and alert the others, but before he could do so, he encountered another surprise. Directly in front of him was the snarling face of a sleek, gray wolf.
Kieren stood frozen with fear, when he realized his escape route was blocked and there were most likely more of these creatures off to his side. That would explain the movement he had noticed moments earlier, because he knew wolves seldom moved about or hunted alone. His next reaction was to scream out and summon help, but the second he opened his mouth to shout, several wolves appeared and formed a semicircle around him.
Although he realized he needed to warn the others, the wolves growled menacingly and this caused his throat to tighten and strangled off any sounds that might have come from it. Kieren had no idea what he should do now, so he remained transfixed. His mouth was dry, his heart pounded and his mind raced with speculation, as he tried to come up with a way to extract himself from this situation.
He hadn't yet formed a plan, when the wolves began to inch forward, their teeth bared and drool dripping from the corners of their mouths. Kieren was sure he was about to be their next meal, so he considered trying to bolt past them, before they had a chance to leap. His body, however, was paralyzed with fear and refused to cooperate with him. Therefore, all he could do was watch, as his attackers grew steadily closer.
Without further warning, the wolves sprang into action, with several of them lunging at him almost simultaneously. Kieren began to feel their sharp teeth sink into his skin, as they bit various parts of his body and pierced the flesh, which caused him excruciating pain. He did his best to try to fight them off, but there were just too many and they were too powerful.
Kieren had just about resigned himself to his fate, when his body suddenly bolted upright. He was terrified to the core and drenched in sweat. His heart raced and his breath came in labored gasps. He looked about quickly, in an attempt to locate his attackers, but gradually began to recognize what had actually happened. As the reality of the situation finally clicked in, Kieren was able to admit to himself that it had all been a very realistic and terrifying nightmare.
Kieren's sudden movement caused Garreth to wake up and he was immediately alarmed when he looked over at his friend.
"Kieren, what's wrong?" he pleaded, greatly concerned, but Kieren wasn't able to respond just yet. "What's the matter? You look like hell!"
Kieren was only able to stare at his friend, while he took a moment to let everything that had just happened sink in. Garreth sat impatiently, as he waited for Kieren to tell him what was wrong, when Romaric awakened too. His slumber had been disturbed by Garreth's comments.
"What's going on?" he asked, only slightly coherent.
"I'm not sure. Kieren won't tell me what's wrong," Garreth pouted. He was also eyeing his friend suspiciously.
Kieren, however, continued to sit in stunned silence. He did this until he managed to regain enough composure to mutter a few words to his friends.
"I just had a really bad dream," he finally offered. "That's all."
This got both boys' attention.
"About what?" Romaric wondered.
Kieren didn't immediately answer, but the elves persisted and continued to demand that he tell them about his dream. After resisting their efforts a little longer, Kieren finally gave in and explained everything he could remember about his nightmare. When he finished relaying the terrifying experience, both elves sat speechless.
"I feel really stupid," Kieren announced, after he concluded filling them in. "I'm not a child any longer and shouldn't be scared so easily."
"No! That's not true," Romaric assured him. "The things we've learned over the past couple of days have been enough to scare all of us. You shouldn't feel badly that this happened to you."
"Yeah," Garreth added, with his own fear evident upon his face. "Especially since Madumda might be planning to get rid of Beraut, and possibly the rest of us too."
As soon as the words escaped his lips, Garreth immediately wished he could take them back. He knew this would only add to his friend's anxiety and he certainly didn't want that to happen.
"Big help you are," Kieren told him, with a slight grin forming on his lips, "but I hope Beraut was right and these woods are safe."
"Yeah, I'm sure they are," Romaric offered comfortingly. "I'm positive Beraut and King Dylan have done everything possible to make certain no harm comes to us. Besides, we'll do everything we can to protect each other too. Right?"
"Absolutely!" they all agreed, before ending their discussion and settling back into their bedrolls.
'Yes, we're safe until we leave Wildoness,' Kieren thought, as he got comfortable again. 'But what happens after that?'
Kieren didn't utter those words aloud, however, since he wished to prevent his friends from suffering the same doubts as well. He felt it best not to ignite their imaginations or inadvertently lead them to similar conclusions. Instead, he hoped they wouldn't somehow deduce this scenario on their own.
After a few minutes, the three boys began to settle down again. After Garreth and Romaric made sure that Kieren was tucked safely in between them, it still took him longer than his friends to slip back into oblivion. Mercifully, when he finally did, he didn't experience any more nightmares.
A few hours later, as the smell of the morning's breakfast wafted into his nostrils and splotches of sunlight danced over his closed eyelids, Kieren began to stir. Although he was still very weary, the continued assault of the sun's rays filtering through the thin skin covering his eyes was more than he could deal with and it brought him out of his slumber. He could still feel both of his friends sidled tightly against him, so he surmised they were still asleep as well.
As his eyes gradually began to focus, he hurriedly surveyed the surrounding area, in an attempt to learn the status of the others. That's when he discovered that everyone else was already up and busily moving about. It appeared as if they had been awake for quite some time, so Kieren began to worry that his friends and he might be holding the others up. Concerned, he quickly woke his mates and they quietly got dressed.
Kieren judged from the amount of preparations that had been completed already that the others must have been up for at least an hour or more. He didn't take very long to consider this situation further though, because his stomach began to growl. This reminded him that he needed to give it some attention. Acknowledging his immense hunger, Kieren wandered over to the fire, followed by Garreth and Romaric.
After securing their morning portions of food, the trio doggedly attacked the various items and didn't stop until the rumblings in their stomachs had been quieted. Once they were satisfied, they hurriedly returned to the spot where they had bedded down the previous evening. After quickly packing up their gear, they were ready to resume the journey.
Now that they had everything squared away, they wandered over to where the horses had been secured for the night. The elfin guards hadn't saddled their mounts yet, so the boys offered to do it. Under the watchful eye of one of their protectors, the boys prepared for their steeds for the next leg of this adventure. As soon as this task had been completed, they climbed into place and prepared for another day in the saddle. Then, they moved to take their assigned place in the formation.